- Working from home can seem like compared to a long morning commute — but there are challenges.
- Lonliness, distractions and poor technology are a few of the things that remote workers must face.
- These are four challenging aspects of working remotely,
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Everyone dreams of rolling out of bed only to do a 20 min board meeting in your PJ’s.
Between 2005 and 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work, according to a recent report by Global Workplace Analytics
A recent report from Global Workplace Analytics showed that 4.7 million employees (3.4% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time. Of that 75% of employees who work from home earn over $65,000 per year.
Interestingly, these numbers don’t include self-employed home-based businesses. These numbers are are based on people who work for other companies, and do that work at home. Since 2005 this segment of workers has grown 11% faster than the rest of the workforce and nearly 47x faster than the self-employed population.
This says that lots of people are working from home, and most are getting someone else to pay them for it. But, working from home can have pitfalls. Before you ask your boss to let you work from your bedroom, here are a few things to consider.
Everyone walks around with a phone in their pocket, so you think access to everything you need to do business is simple. Not so much. Dropping a call when you are speaking to Aunt Edna is far different than not having enough bandwith to hold a video meeting to close the deal with a new client.
Having enough ink in the printer to finish the proposal that’s due in a few hours is super important when you are now responsible for it.
Paying your power and cable bills on time are always vital, but become even more so when working from home. Having to explain to your VP that you can’t finish your proposal because you forgot to pay your power bill is not the convo that you want to have.
Making sure your cellphone tower is close enough so that you don’t have deadzones is also important. Planning to work while you are on vacation? Making sure that you will have adequate wifi and cell coverage is important to check before you go. All of these things are taken for granted in the office, but it’s easy to fall short when you are on your own.
Whether you work from home or the office, it is easy to get distracted.
Even in the workplace, the average employee is getting interrupted 50 to 60 times per day, and about 80% of these interruptions are unimportant.
Now multiply that with the familiarity of being home with kids, tv shows, neighbors and other things common to working from home.
Being able to close the door and set clear “work time” boundaries is critical to work successfully.
Harvard Business Review suggested batching, rather than sporadically checking things throughout the day like email, instant messages, social media, and even text messages. Selecting predetermined times to do “off goal” things while focusing on major goals for the rest of the time, can help increase productivity.
No Set Schedule
If you have the leisure of not having to punch a clock, you may think I will have more time for fun. That isn’t necessarily so. Studies have shown that without a set schedule, some employees become increasingly unproductive, or the quality of the work that they produce is substantially lower.
The other side is also true. In one report, workers struggled to sleep, and as a result had harder times getting up in the mornings. Not having to be in an office by a certain time can trick the body into thinking it can sleep when you need to be awake and alert.
Yet it is also true that some workers may have a hard time disconnecting from work. Not knowing when to stop for the day, or not going in and doing “one more thing” before dinner, bedtime or other family activities.
As adults, most of our daily connections with others is at work. Water cooler chats, teambuilding and being with others with similar interests creates office culture. Not having this connections has been shown to result in feelings of isolation and loneliness. One worker stated that “Isolation is the biggest challenge. I used to bounce ideas off my coworkers, but now it is just me, all on my lonesome.”
A Harvard Business Review noted that going to a coworking space twice a week is a great way to ease the loneliness and help workers be more productive. The act of connecting with other people can create the sense of well being and social connectivity needed to boost worker confidence.
It’s not just that workers needed to hear that they were doing well at their jobs, it is that they need to feel connected and seen. One commenter stated that, “I need to feel that people know I exist”.
President, Leading at Life, LLC
A Georgia-girl, blessed to live and work in some amazing cites and countries. Michelle currently calls Mount Juliet, TN and the rest of the amazing Nashville area home. She’s proud to have touched millions as a broadcast exec and consultant to amazing companies who’ve touched even more.